With a wealth of birth center, parenting, and life experience to share, we are delighted to bring you this interview with Kayla. From the benefits of a multi-generational support system to her thoughts on advocating for Black mothers and families, Kayla has much to bring to the table.
I have worked in healthcare for 25 years. I know my rights as a patient, and I am not a docile person. In my mind I wondered how many times this happened to other women. If I was treated that way and I worked in health care, what then of the women who didn’t?
The midwifery model of care certainly offers a more rounded and whole approach to the needs and care of women in pregnancy. However, is it enough to address the gaps that exist in pregnancy outcomes related to ethnicity?
Riding in the back of a rickety ambulance while mostly naked, feverish, still having contractions–it was an agonizingly slow 30 minutes. I don’t think I’ve ever wanted anything in my life more than to be out of that ambulance. . .
All the other kids in our family were born in a hospital, and those were all vaginal births. In my case, the only child born by c-section started at a birth center with a midwife. . .
After the c-section they rolled me into another room and, an hour later, they brought my baby to me. An hour after birth, I finally got to hold my daughter against my chest and really look at her face. . .
I didn’t want this c-section, but now they were rolling me into the surgical suite. . .
After over an hour of pushing, this baby had not budged whatsoever. There should have been some kind of progress if there were going to be any. The c-section appeared to be my only and last resort. . .
It was never supposed to happen this way. It was the worst case scenario. I was the five percent, the 1 in 20. I knew it was possible it would go like this, but I had placed my bets according to probability- according to the statistics. It wasn’t likely, but here I was. . .
There I was, laying mostly naked on an ambulance stretcher in a white room full of fluorescent lights at the hospital. Every two minutes or so I would yell for about a minute through another strong contraction with a crowd of doctors and medical students standing by. . .
As Providence would have it, the small hospital in Rocky Mount, VA where I was working as a nurse at the time decided. . .
Instead of being a hospital nurse or providing midwifery care, I was suddenly. . .
Although I disagreed with God for quite a while about His plan, I finally told God I would go if He would do two things. . .
Although I had already been thinking about it for a long time, I decided at that point we needed better care for pregnant women, and that something had to be done. . .
For me, the straw that broke the camel’s back was what happened to Jessica. Jessica was a single young woman and pregnant for the third time. . .
Even though there have been many improvements over the years, there’s still a lot of disappointment for me in seeing how women, even today, are treated. What I’ve learned from listening to women is that they are too often given little to no choice. . .
The Jones’ also taught me. They were both professionals, one a physician. They had taken Bradley classes. They did not want continuous electronic fetal monitoring, no IV, and no medications unless absolutely necessary. They worked so well together. I had never seen anything like it before…
Another mother who taught me was Rachel. She was 16 — one of those quiet, shy teens. She indicated she wanted to get through the labor without medication if she could, but she didn’t think she could do it…
For the first time, I witnessed a young German Baptist woman go through labor and birth unmedicated. She had memorized Bible verses and throughout her labor she would lapse into a sort of meditation, reciting the verses and praying when she was feeling out of control…
“Listen to Women” was the central theme in a campaign to promote midwifery by the American College of Nurse-Midwives the year I graduated with my degree in nurse-midwifery. Very appropriate was this theme for me, because listening to women and observing them was how I started down this path…